Yep! You read that right! Today’s post is about the healing powers of poop.
I talk a lot about intestinal health and its importance for optimum health and well being. More research is coming out all the time about how crucial the bacteria in our guts are and the critical role they play in immune function. We are discovering that antibiotics, dewormers, pesticides and herbicides have negative effects on the bacteria in our gut. This probably comes as no surprise.
Before we move on, I want to be clear that I am not advocating for anyone’s complete boycott of any of these for their animals. Some of these drugs might be life saving. What I am suggesting is that maybe these are overused and may be having deleterious effects.
I remember in my fourth of veterinary school, a small animal internal medicine professor first introduced this question. Is it possible that getting rid of all the intestinal parasites of small animals, has changed the gut flora and therefore immune function? He did not claim to know the answer. Are we really improving health by ridding dogs and cats of intestinal parasites? Yes, but maybe it’s not always that simple.
Fast forward to my daughter’s infancy.
She was allergic to EVERYTHING I ate when it passed through my milk. Everything, except turkey, rice, carrots, chard and safflower oil. She was allergic to every formula both prescription and over the counter. I ate those ingredients and breast fed her for two years. We had the best pediatric gastroenterologist and immunologist in the state of Colorado. I asked Dr. Ted Stathos, her gastroenterologist, why this was happening. He replied that it was suspected to be linked to the antibiotic use in the 1970’s. These antibiotics had changed our gut flora. Wow.
When discussing intestinal parasites with our immunologist, he said that one reason third world countries don’t have as many allergies is because they have more intestinal parasites. These intestinal parasites help regulate the immune system. There it is again. Now, I am not suggesting that we all go out and get intestinal parasites for ourselves or our dogs. Please don’t do that!
During those two years that I was trying to find something for my daughter to eat, fecal transplantation came of up several times during my visit with our pediatrician. I have also noticed that the Mayo Clinic and several children’s hospitals are starting to routinely use fecal transplants.
Last week I attended a lecture given by a veterinarian who was having great success using fecal transplantation. She has had success with everything from chronic allergies, chronic gastrointestinal disease and cancer. The good bacteria from the transplant helps improve the intestinal health of the recipient. So, I am going start offering them in my practice. I see how beneficial they could be for so many conditions. I owe it to all my patient’s to try everything.
So how does it work?
It’s insanely simple. Take fresh poop from a healthy donor and either give it to the recipient orally or rectally with an enema. Does this sound gross? Absolutely! Some patient’s will need one and some will need several transplants. I have a handful of patients that I can’t wait to try this with and I will keep you all posted!
In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback! You can leave a comment below.